Sometimes you need cake.
My lovely friend Ruth is getting married soon. The ladies gathered to celebrate last week and we all ‘brought a plate’. Making certain I could join in the eating; this Nutty Chocolate Ginger Cake was born. Chocolate and ginger go hand in hand, and I find using grated root ginger gives a distinct fresh flavour over ground ginger, bringing the cake spicy, almost tropical, undertones. I used very dark chocolate with 85% cocoa mass. It keeps the cake from being overly sweet, with a very moist torte texture. I topped it off with coconut cream chocolate frosting.
Inspiration hit after reading through a number of nut and egg based cake recipes in The Food of Spain. These nut cakes are made mostly with whipped egg-whites creating a super soft crumb.
And even better, this recipe is gluten free and dairy free.
‘Dairy free?’ you say, ‘But it has chocolate in it!’
Yes, it has chocolate in it – damn.good.chocolate.
I use dairy free chocolate from Alter Eco. It’s utterly decadent and worth every cent. Hunt for it at your local health food store, but if you can eat dairy with abandon use whatever chocolate you prefer. I’m a fan of dark bitter chocolate, but if you’re not, take a step down from 85% dark and use something a little lighter in the cake. The coconut cream frosting is suited to a less bitter chocolate, I suggest using 60% or less.
To keep ginger a primary flavour, I used ginger liqueur in the cake batter. Our little bar cabinet happens to contain a bottle of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur. I’m a sucker for awesome bottles! From my research it seems to be gluten free. ‘Stones Green Ginger Wine’ would also work well. If you skip the liqueur all together, add extra grated root ginger for more kick.
Nutty Chocolate Ginger Cake – Gluten & Dairy Free
6 large eggs
4 Tbsp of Domaine de Canton (Ginger Liqueur)
150g coconut sugar
100g dark bitter chocolate, broken into pieces (dairy free eg Alter Eco)
2cm long chunk of ginger root, finely grated
coconut oil to grease the pan
cocoa to dust the cake tin
preserved ginger to decorate
Begin by preheating your oven to 180˚C. Prepare a 25cm spring-form cake tin by greasing it with coconut oil, and dusting generously with cocoa.
In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with the liqueur, coconut sugar and grated ginger, until well combined the coconut sugar is fully dissolved. Carefully melt the dark bitter chocolate in a double boiler over low heat, and mix into the egg mixture.
Using a food processor, coarsely chop the walnuts and macadamias. The ground nuts should be similar in texture to chunky bread crumbs, you want some finely ground nuts mixed with some coarse pieces. Fold them into the chocolate egg mixture.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites till stiff and fold them very gently into the cake batter. Spoon the batter into the pre-prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes till firm. Watch carefully that the cake top does not colour too deeply. Cover with foil if need be. Once done, leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before attempting to turn it out.
Top with coconut chocolate frosting (recipe below) and garnish with slices of preserved ginger.
Coconut Chocolate Frosting
400g can of full fat coconut cream
60g of 60% dark chocolate (dairy free)
Note: Use a good quality, organic brand of coconut cream without additives. For the frosting you want the coconut cream to separate in two separate layers, a rich creamy top layer, leaving the coconut water behind. It helps to put the can into the fridge beforehand. Coconut cream with added emulsifiers will not separate, so read the ingredient label carefully.
For the frosting scoop out the top layer of coconut cream from your chilled can into a small saucepan (You should have approximately 200g worth of top cream from a 400g can, save the remaining coconut water for a smoothie). Warm the coconut cream gently over low heat till almost boiling. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate broken into pieces, stirring till the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge to chill and thicken to frosting consistency. Spread generously over the cooled cake.